text, photography
Fotogalerie, Wien
20 trophies, text, photography, variable dimensions
courtesy by the winners of first prize and Miriam Bajtala
Invitation of section a
Magazine contribution: Parabol Art Magazin / don´t you dare


Miriam Bajtala presents the work First Prize, in which she transfers the athletic achievements of her own biography as a former competive gymnast to the machinations of the art system. From the 20 trophies she won in sport many years before, 20 prizes have been generated which Bajtala has been awarding and receiving since 2011. „I asked myself about the symbols of recognition within the art system: an exhibition at an important art institution, one or more art prizes, and a sprawling studio increase the value of art on the exhibition market. Beginning with a deficit, the desire for recognition determines the constitutions of subjects. In my work first prize for the magazine Parabol  (# 6, autumn 2011), I turned this principle of dependency upside down: I was a competitive gymnast until the age of seventeen, trained twelve hours a week, and won many trophies and medals. Physical performance and discipline were rewarded. But what does a person do with the trophies and recognition years later? Pass them on. I took on the position of the awarder, adopted the representation of the symbolic order, and gave first prizes to institutions, critics, curators, commissions, etc. for the appreciation of my artistic work. The value of recognition shifts across different levels. Acclaim for the athletic performances of my childhood lost its value, the symbols of recognition passed on and awarded the recognition and esteem of my artistic work. (Sabine Winkler, in: in my name, catalog, page 51)